Student killed Sheffield 'community elder' he called uncle in road collision - court

Waqas Khan
Waqas Khan

A university student fatally injured a man crossing the road on a snowy night in Sheffield - realising moments later the victim was a 'community elder' he called uncle.

Waqas Khan's Vauxhall Corsa hit Hassan Ali on Staniforth Road in Darnall at around 10.15pm on January 28, 2015, with the collision causing Mr Ali to go into a coma from which he never recovered.

Hassan Ali

Hassan Ali

Mr Ali died in hospital on February 6 having never regained consciousness.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that after the collision Khan, now aged 23 and of Balfour Road, Darnall, realised he knew Mr Ali as figure from the local community, as well as the uncle of his best friend.

In an edited transcript of a police interview, Khan, who is charged with causing death by careless driving, said: "When I hit him I didn't know it was Hassan until I got out of the car. I straight away got out the car and ran towards him.

"One of his mates came running, crying, screaming, really upset. The thought running through my mind was 'Oh my God, what has happened? I went straight away to help him up. Then I realised who it was."

Richard Thyne, prosecuting, told the jury: "It was established he knew him as a community elder. He called him uncle although he wasn't a biological uncle."

The court heard Khan, was going around 15 to 20mph and hit Mr Ali in the centre of the road. Khan had passed his driving test the summer before and told officers he had been 'extra careful' that night due to the bad weather.

CCTV was shown to the jury of the fatal collision that occurred as Khan returned home after revising at Sheffield University.

Mr Thyne said the footage showed Khan's car 'drifting' towards the middle of the road in the seconds before the collision and its brakes only coming on after he had hit Mr Ali.

He said it is the prosecution's case that Khan's driving fell below the standards of a careful driver as his car 'was drifting from one side of the road to another'.

After the incident, Khan told police: "I was driving down Staniforth Road, I look across towards my right for a few seconds and as soon as I looked back he was right there in front of me and I hit Hassan."

The court heard Mr Ali had been in Mirza's Spices before the collision with his nephew and his friend Mohamed Yunis.

In a statement read to the jury, Mr Yunis said he had a 'few words and a joke' with Mr Ali before he walked towards his car and the latter man started crossing the road after emerging between parked cars on to the road.

"I suddenly heard a sound and looked to my right and saw a body in the air. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. I screamed out, I couldn't help it when I realised it was Hassan on the floor.

"The driver came towards me and I had a few unpleasant words to say to him but he said 'Brother, calm down'."

Mr Yunis said he attempted to comfort his friend and thought about getting him in his car to keep him warm in the snowy weather but didn't want to move him.

He added: "The driver then seemed to realise Hassan was the uncle of his best friend."

Mohammed Mahboob, a taxi driver who witnessed the collision, said Mr Ali had been 'looking straight across the road' and 'looked as if he was focused on something across the road'.

PC Adrian Burgoyne, who investigated the crash, said he believed there were a number of contributory factors to the incident.

"My opinion is the incident is likely to have occurred as a direct result of a combination of issues - weather conditions, the driver failing to see the pedestrians in the carriageway and vica versa - pedestrians failing to see the vehicle approaching."

He said there were no technical problems with the car that may have caused it to drift into the centre of the road.

PC Burgoyne said he believed the fatal collision to be accidental.

"I'm of the opinion it was not a deliberate act."

The case continues.